With the Pittsburgh Pirates, he was a mediocre pitcher with bad control and iffy command, often running ERAs over five.
But the Yankees saw potential in him and took a chance.
Roughly a year after he landed in the Bronx, we can firmly say that the Yankees created a monster.
“Clay Holmes, 5.57 ERA in 3+ seasons with the Pirates. 0.95 ERA in 1+ season with the Yankees,” High Heat Stats tweeted.
5.57 ERA in 3+ seasons with the Pirates
0.95 ERA in 1+ season with the Yankees
— High Heat Stats (@HighHeatStats) July 8, 2022
Director of pitching Sam Briend and pitching coach Matt Blake have changed the Yankees for the best.
They brought in incredible pitching knowledge, and the Yankees gave them the resources they wanted and needed to overhaul the organizational pitching.
It has paid off, and Holmes is one of the best examples.
Throwing Strikes Was The Key
They worked with him and ditched his curveball: now, he throws his sinker 81.5 percent of the time, and the rest are mostly sliders.
They improved the movement profile of his sinker and slider, and they encouraged him to attack the zone.
With the Pirates, Holmes nibbled too much and it resulted in many walks.
Walks, as you know, are not good for pitchers.
The Yankees, however, understood that pinpoint location wasn’t as important for a reliever as it is for a starter, and encouraged Holmes to throw his wicked sinker and slider in the zone and let their natural movement take care of the rest.
Now, Holmes is in the discussion for being the best reliever in baseball, which is no small feat.
He is now the Yankees’ closer, and he likely won’t surrender his role anytime soon.NEXT: Gerrit Cole Had The Perfect Comment On Rafael Devers